Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 9/30/12

This will be the Giants third prime time game through the first four weeks of the season. A brutal, daunting task which has proven advantageous for New York, at least record wise. The Giants are coming off of a mini-bye since they beat down the Panthers last Thursday night while the Eagles are coming off of a Sunday afternoon beat down of their own. Only problem: they were the ones being beat down by a superior (at least in the here and now) Cardinals team. Both division rivals head into the Sunday Night game 2-1 with the early season NFC East division lead on the line. Anytime these two teams matchup, there is a chance something memorable will happen. Who can forget DeSean Jackson’s game winning punt return just two seasons ago? So what can we expect this Sunday Night? I’m not quite sure. But I know one thing: this is going to be a hell of a bout.

What the Eagles Must Do in Order to Win This Game

When Michael Vick took over for Kevin Kolb, he lit the league on fire much like when he first broke into the NFL. Spectacular play after spectacular play. After an injury laden 2011, Vick has yet to bounce back and his doubters have re-emerged louder than ever. Even Andy Reid has hinted that Vick’s starting job was on the line if he could not perform better. This is Eagles team is under a ton of scrunity and stress. The last thing they need is to be put under the microscope of a nationally televised primetime game against their division rival. Or, perhaps it is a good thing. I expect Vick to have a big game Sunday at home. I really do. Vick is elusive enough to escape the Giants’ front seven if New York brings pressure. He has a strong enough arm to hit Jackson deep beyond a relatively mediocre Giants’ secondary. Brent Celek needs to continue to be utilized in between the numbers and LeSean McCoy needs the ball in space. But the game rests on Vick’s shoulders. A game which he can lead his team to victory and leave his doubters at bay for at least another week. This is a huge game for the Eagles. A game they need to win. And in front of their home crowd, with EDP in Philadelphia for the first time ever, I can’t picture them not stepping up and delivering a gem.

What the Giants Must Do in Order to Win This Game

Eli Manning is a great quarterback. It would be impossible for me to argue against it. He’s better than his brother ever was and if you think that’s an outrageous statement then you and I have vastly different views on what makes a quarterback great. The Giants are not going to roll over and hand the division to the Eagles. (Yes, I understand the Cowboys are also 2-1. The Cowboys don’t count.) That being said, not having Hakeem Nicks for the second consecutive game is a major blow. Ramses Barden had a great game last Thursday night against a weak Panthers’ secondary. Not trying to take anything away from him, because he did have a spectacular game, but I just can’t comprehend how the Giants keep filling in these number three receivers and turning them into world beaters. Steve Smith, Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham, and now Barden. They seem to be able to plug anybody in and just flat out dominate with them. I think that’s more of a testament to Manning than the receivers. Hell, Tony Romo couldn’t utilize Martellus Bennett and now he looks like a top five tight end in football since he’s been paired up with Manning. Absolutely ridiculous. That being said, this game really does come down to Manning vs. Vick. If Manning has the ball at the end of the game with the Eagles only up a score. I’m calling Vegas and going all in on the Giants. Manning is going to have to play better than whatever Vick brings to the table on Sunday Night. If Vick falters, Manning cannot be worse. If Vick shines, Manning must shine brighter. Both of these defenses are no joke. Let’s see how much of a quarterback’s league it truly is later tonight.

Final Prediction

31-28 Eagles. Like I said, when EDP comes to town, the Eagles cannot lose. Just all the pressure in the world on Vick and I think he delivers with a late drive to set up Alex Henry for the win. Vick will throw three touchdowns and commit zero turnovers for the first time in decades. McCoy will rush one in as well. Manning will have a solid game, but he will not have the ball in the waning minutes. That will be the difference. Vick will run an almost flawless two minute drill (someone will drop a sure interception) and get his team their second solid victory of the season.

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